Hanson on Regulatory Bias
By Bryan Caplan
Don’t miss this great post by the great Robin Hanson. The heart of it:
[R]egulations hold some things to higher standards than others, even
when the relevant consequences seem similar. For example we seem to
- Individuals over firms
- Non-money over money exchange.
- Natural over artificial chemicals
- Old over new practices
- Human over machine control
- Locals over foreigners
- Non- over for-profit organizations.
- What else?
But isn’t there a logical explanation?
[C]lever folks can think up justifications for such preferences. But… I expect
few folks could quickly come up with those reasons, even though most
embrace such preferences. This again suggests that the clever reasons
some can offer are not the main reasons most folks support such biases.
And the obvious reasons that might drive most folks to support such
biases do not suggest these are biases worth keeping.
P.S. I don’t think Robin had this in mind, but notice the tight overlap with anti-market bias, anti-foreign bias, and make-work bias.